Europe’s Sunny Weather Rains On Ice­land’s Pa­rade

Riverbank News - - NEIGHBORHOOD VALUES -

REYK­JAVIK, Ice­land (AP) — Pop singer Helgi Bjorns­son, who is well-known in his na­tive Ice­land for a 1980s hit ti­tled “I Do Like the Rain,” re­cently ap­peared on na­tional tele­vi­sion while a dead­pan re­porter chal­lenged him to de­fend the song’s premise.

The peo­ple of Reyk­javik do not like the rain any­more. This sum­mer has been so gray and wet in the cap­i­tal of Ice­land that me­te­o­rol­o­gists have to look as far back as 1914 to find records for a worse May and June.

In other parts of Europe, es­pe­cially Bri­tain and Scan­di­navia, a heat wave is ex­pected to con­tinue well into July.

The stark con­trast is no co­in­ci­dence. High pres­sure over west­ern Europe al­ters the jet stream and pushes clouds and rain over the con­ti­nent’s north­ern posts, caus­ing foul weather in this North At­lantic is­land na­tion.

“It’s the other side of the heat wave to­ken,” Ice­land me­te­o­rol­o­gist Trausti Jon­s­son said. “The peo­ple of Reyk­javik are pay­ing for the sun­shine in Eng­land and south­ern Scan­di­navia.”

Dur­ing June, the month of mid­night sun and camp­ing hol­i­days in Ice­land, sun­shine touched Reyk­javik for a to­tal of 70 hours. The tem­per­a­ture reached 13.2 de­grees Cel­sius (56 F) on the warm­est day, two de­grees shy of Reyk­javik’s av­er­age for the month.

In May, it rained ev­ery sin­gle day.

Sum­mer’s de­layed ar­rival has spurred a weather forecast ob­ses­sion and con­stant dis­ap­point­ment in the world’s north­ern­most cap­i­tal city.

A forecast call­ing for 11 hours of clear sky on Thurs­day brought giddy ex­cite­ment, with many post­ing on so­cial me­dia how they planned to spend the sun­ni­est day in two weeks.

But then the forecast changed. The sun now is ex­pected to give way to clouds by noon, ac­cord­ing to the Ice­landic Met Of­fice.

Some here have given up hope. One travel agent told lo­cal me­dia that book­ings for last-minute beach hol­i­days are com­ing in “with­out any mar­ket­ing on our be­half.” Tan­ning sa­lons are mak­ing a come­back, while ice cream ven­dors, house painters and the staffs of out­door swim­ming pools strug­gle with low de­mand for their ser­vices.

“You need about two days of sun for out­door wood to com­pletely dry,” house painter Mar Gud­munds­son lamented. “I don’t think we have had that.”

Sum­mer is Ice­land’s main tourist sea­son and many trav­el­ers sleep in tents dur­ing their stays.

The Lau­gardalur camp­site in Reyk­javik is see­ing slightly fewer guests than in pre­vi­ous years. But man­ager Od­dvar Ar­na­son ob­served that “most peo­ple don’t change their means of ac­com­mo­da­tion after ar­rival and sim­ply ad­just.”

Alex Moreno, a 17-year-old cam­per from Granada in Spain, said he found the brisk cli­mate more pleas­ant than the boil­ing weather at home.

“Just put on a jacket and it’s fine here,” he said.

Things have been worse. In June 1914, when the slay­ing of Arch­duke Franz Fer­di­nand of Aus­tria plunged the globe into World War I, Europe was un­der a hot spell and Reyk­javik, in re­turn, got bi­b­li­cal rain­fall.

His­to­rian Gud­jon Fridriks­son said Reyk­javik at the time was a town of about 15,000 peo­ple with an un­de­vel­oped sewage sys­tem and mostly dirt roads.

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